By U.S. Army RacingSeptember 12, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Army News Service, Sept. 11, 2007) - U.S. Army NHRA drivers, Tony "The Sarge" Schumacher, Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown, will travel to "Elvis Country" this weekend for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals here at Memphis Motorsports Park.
While not expecting to experience a King of Rock & Roll sighting, Mr. Schumacher, Ms. Sampey and Mr. Brown will still be hoping for a little Elvis magic so they can dance into victory lane come Sunday afternoon.
Coming off of his sixth Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win two weeks ago, Mr. Schumacher sits atop the Top Fuel standings for the first time in 2007.
In Pro Stock Motorcycles, Ms. Sampey heads for Memphis holding fifth place in the standings, 14 points removed from fourth-place, which is the last qualified spot for the Countdown to One.
While Ms. Sampey remains in contention for her fourth world championship, Mr. Brown is still trying to claim his first win of the year aboard his U.S. Army Suzuki.
After securing his fifth victory of the '07 campaign at O'Reilly Raceway Park over Labor Day weekend, Mr. Schumacher managed to wrestle away the point lead from Rod Fuller. It's the first time since the dramatic season finale last year that Mr. Schumacher has held the top spot.
"That was huge," said Mr. Schumacher about his Indy conquest. "We captured a prestigious race and also moved into the lead. We couldn't have asked for anything more. Now, of course, we have to keep plugging along in Memphis."
The Memphis event is one of three races remaining in the NHRA's Countdown to Four. The other races will take place in Dallas and Richmond, Va., over the next four weeks.
"It's very clear what the U.S. Army team needs to do in the next month - we have to remain in the top four if we want to go for our fourth straight title," added the Chicago native. "The real objective is that we want stay number one and have everyone chasing us."
Pro Stock Motorcycles
With her disappointing first round exit at Indy, Ms. Sampey dropped from second in the points to fifth, which is just outside where she needs to be if she wants to challenge for her first world championship since 2002.
"We've pretty much forgotten about what happened in Indy and now we're just looking ahead," she offered. "We don't have a lot of ground to make up to get into that top four, so I'm not overly concerned. We're determined to go down to Memphis and win."
Unlike Mr. Schumacher who has three races remaining in the Countdown to Four, Ms. Sampey only has two races left - Memphis and Dallas. The Pro Stock Motorcycles will not compete in Richmond.
"I guess that puts a little pressure on us, but I know this U.S. Army team can handle it," she added. "My guys are just like our Soldiers - they will not accept defeat."
Failing to qualify for the Countdown to Four, Mr. Brown is simply attempting to win some races as the season winds down, while also trying to finish in the top 10 for the tenth time in his career.
"Quite obviously, our agenda is far different than Angelle's," said Mr. Brown. "But, we're alike in the sense that we both want to get the trophy on Sunday afternoon. And, we'll be looking to do just that down in Memphis."
With just a handful of races left, Mr. Brown would also like to assist Ms. Sampey in her title hunt.
"If I can help her, I absolutely will," he said. "If I can take out some of her competition, I'm sure she would be fine with that. That's what teammates are all about. We both want to win a world championship for the U.S. Army."